Joe Heath

The primary goal of Joseph’s research has been to evaluate the adequacy of the instrumental conception of practical rationality. He focuses on three problems connected to this conception of practical rationality: 1. The problem of order. The instrumental conception of rationality has difficulty explaining two features of social order: cooperation and coordination. His research has been focused on finding a way of introducing social norms into the model of practical rationality. 2. The problem of language. One of the simplifying assumptions of rational choice theory has been that players not be able to communicate with one another. It has turned out to be far more difficult than initially expected to lift this assumption and much of my research to date has been focused on diagnosing the source of these difficulties. 3. Problems of belief-desire psychology. Part of his research has involved diagnosing the connection between instrumental rationality and belief-desire psychology, since this connection is significantly obscured in the many recent treatments. His current research will focus, in part, on developing an evolutionary explanation for economic altruism. His recent and forthcoming publications include: Communicative Action and Rational Choice (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), The Efficient Society (Toronto: Penguin, 2001). “Should Productivity Growth be a Social Priority?” Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress, vol. 2, ed. Andrew Sharpe, Keith Banting, France St-Hilaire (forthcoming), “The Transcendental Necessity of Morality,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (in press), “Discounting, Deontic Constraint, and the Structure of Practical Deliberation,” (forthcoming) and “The Robustness of Altruism as an Evolutionary Strategy,” with Scott Woodcock, co-author, Biology and Philosophy (in press).

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